Canon’s latest SX40 HS superzoom retains the 35x optical zoom and design of the previous SX30 IS. But with a new CMOS sensor is the PowerShot SX40 the superzoom we’ve been waiting for? The What Digital Camera Canon PowerShot SX40 HS review…

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Canon PowerShot SX40 HS

Overall score:88%
Image Quality:95%


  • Good image quality, decent high ISO performance, lens barrel markings, optical stabilisation


  • Low resolution 2.7in LCD, electronic viewfinder, expensive


Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Review


Price as reviewed:

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS reworks last year’s SX30 IS superzoom. While the design and 24-840mm (35x optical zoom) lens remain the same as per its predecessor, it’s the SX40 HS’s inner workings that see an overhaul. With a new 12.1MP back-lit 1/2.3in size CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5 processor, 10.3fps burst mode and 1080p24 movie capture has the SX40 got the muscle to see off its competitors, or are these updates not quite enough to keep up with the superzoom market’s upward curve?



Canon PowerShot SX40 HS review – Features

The SX40 HS’s most prominent feature is its huge zoom range. With a wideangle 24mm setting that can power through to 840mm at the telephoto end and there are few other cameras out there with quite the range, particularly at the wide end. Add to this Canon’s optical image stabilisation system (IS) that claims to counter for up to 4.5 stops of hand shake and this camera looks like a winner. A new Intelligent IS mode is able to auto-select from seven different options for stills and movie clips.


Canon PowerShot SX40 HS review sample images WEB


Compared to the SX30 the SX40’s biggest shift comes in the form of the new back-lit 1/2.3in CMOS sensor. Out with the old CCD technology and in with the new, as this latest CMOS is paired with the Canon HS system and DIGIC 5 processor for far faster output speeds. Pop the camera into its high speed scene mode and it can shoot eight frames at an impressive 10.3fps, and the new CMOS sensor also means Full HD 1080p movies can be recorded at 24fps. Perhaps most interesting of all is Canon’s focus on better low light performance: the 12.1MP resolution is some two million pixels lower than the SX30’s 14.1MP sensor, plus the back-lit (BSI) designation means the wiring has been moved to the rear of the sensor’s construction. In short this means larger microlenses and a more direct, clearer light path for a better quality signal and, therefore, better quality images that should be most noticeable at the higher ISO settings. The ISO 100-3200 range may seem conservative by comparison to some of the super-high numbers that a lot of recent compacts offer, but Canon has focused on providing a range where every sensitivity is of usable quality.

A mode dial with a full range of Auto and Manual settings also features a variety of Scene options and even Effects for pseudo-fisheye, selective colour and other in-camera options.

  1. 1. Canon PowerShot SX40 HS review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Value & Verdict
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